Ms. Rice will be celebrating the paperback release of The Lemon Orchard (Penguin, $16.00) with a book tour that will commence at R.J. Julia Booksellers in Madison next Tuesday evening, May 27th—and will also include visits to Mystic’s Bank Square Books and Old Lyme’s Midsummer Festival. (See event details below.) She is the author of thirty-one novels that have been translated into twenty-four languages; twenty-two of those books have been New York Times bestsellers and five have become movies or miniseries. Further, two of her short works were featured in Off-Broadway productions. A native of Connecticut, Ms. Rice divides her time between New York City and Southern California.
The Lemon Orchard was met with critical acclaim upon its initial publication. Booklist praised, “Trust Rice, known for fiction that explores the power of family, to find the humanity in illegal immigration, a topic too often relegated to rhetoric and statistics … An unexpected plot turn will leave readers begging for a sequel.” Further, Kirkus noted, “Rice takes her signature themes of family and loss into the difficult and enigmatic landscape of illegal immigration to powerful effect … Lovely and compelling, with quiet yet brave social commentary that enhances the book’s impact.”
From the publisher:
A heartrending, timely love story of two people from seemingly different worlds—at once dramatic and romantic
Luanne Rice is the beloved author of twenty-two New York Times bestsellers. In The Lemon Orchard, one of her most moving and accomplished works yet, Rice gives us an affirming story about the redemptive power of compassion, set in the sea- and citrus-scented air of the breathtaking Santa Monica Mountains.
It’s been five years since Julia’s daughter died. When she arrives to housesit at her uncle’s home in Malibu, she longs only for peace. But to her surprise, Julia becomes drawn to Roberto, the handsome man from Mexico who oversees the lemon orchard. When Roberto reveals his own heartbreak, Julia recognizes his pain, but their stories have one striking difference: Roberto’s daughter was lost—and never found. What ensues is a page-turning search across the U.S. and Mexican border and a captivating novel of love, both enduring and unexpected.
Now, Luanne Rice reveals a few pages from the book of her life …
1) As a child, did you wear your literary lust loud and proud or were you a closet bibliophile?
A book nerd from the start, loud and proud, baby. But I did read in my bedroom closet, so my parents wouldn’t see the light and make me go to sleep—so in that sense, a little of both.
2) What book(s) were you likely to be caught keeping company with under the covers?
Misty of Chincoteague, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, A Wrinkle in Time, and James and the Giant Peach were a few early favorites.
3) What are you reading currently & what is your initial impression?
Land’s End by Michael Cunningham. It is vivid.
4) What one book do you always recommend when asked?
Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger is deep, dark, and brilliant.
5) Which of your own books would you suggest to readers & why?
The Lemon Orchard deals with issues of love, origins, migration, differences, and home—things I have needed to explore lately. The novel starts in Connecticut and moves to Malibu, following a recent trajectory of my own.
6) Is there a book or author that readers would be surprised to know you’ve read and liked?
I like graphic novels. My favorite is Burn the Bridges of Arta by Amelia Onorato.
7) Who is the one author that would, or did, make you weak in the knees upon meeting?
Laurie Colwin. I loved her work, and one day in 1984 or so I ran into her on the street near where we both lived in Chelsea. I got to tell her how much I enjoyed her story in that week’s New Yorker.
8) Has there been an “I’ve made it” moment in your career?
No, because I don’t think of writing as a career.
9) What is your greatest literary ambition?
To write till I die.
10) Fill in the blank: Hartford Books Examiner is _____.
With thanks to Luanne Rice for her generosity of time and thought and to Mary Zanor, Publicist at elevate, for facilitating this interview.
The following is a list of the author’s upcoming local appearances.
Tuesday, May 27th—R.J. Julia Booksellers, 7 PM—This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required, and can be made online or by calling the store at 203-245-3959. R.J. Julia is located at 768 Boston Post Road in Madison.
Tuesday, June 3rd—Bank Square Books, 12 PM—This is a luncheon event. Reservations are required and cost $10/person for a catered lunch, white wine, and dessert or $20/person for a catered lunch, white wine, dessert and a copy of the book. Those who are not interested in the lunch can reserve a spot for free. RSVP online or by calling the store at 860-536-3795. BSB is located at 53 W. Main Street in Mystic.
Sunday, July 26th—Midsummer Festival in Old Lyme. More information: http://www.oldlymemidsummerfestival.com/